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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Post election musings

Uploaded: Nov 6, 2014
One of the surprises coming out of Tuesday's election was in the hard-fought 16th Assembly District where Republican Catharine Baker topped Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti by four points in the unofficial results. There are still mail-in ballots to be counted.
Baker had won the primary where three Democrats, particularly Orinda Councilman Steve Glazer and Sbranti, ran bruising campaigns against each other. Sbranti edged into second place and the November runoff while long-time Danville councilman Newell Arnerich finished fourth. Baker held serve with Republicans in the primary and then likely won the significant majority of the decline-to-state voters to pull out the win in a district than leans Democrat.
Non-district interests poured millions into the campaign where expenditures had totaled $3.5 million entering the last week. Sbranti's campaign bought commercials on the World Series games for a total of almost $350,000.
Sbranti carried Alameda County by a 51-49 margin, while Baker won the Contra Costa cities by a 54-46 margin (home turf for Glazier and Arnerich). Arnerich ended up endorsing Sbranti, while Glazier wrote a Facebook post favorable to Baker.
In the end, district voters may have decided that his deep ties to the state teachers' union, which already has tremendous influence on Democrat politicians in Sacramento, may have put Baker over the top.
Tuesday's results were as expected in the 11th Congressional District, where state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier won by a 2-1 margin to succeed retiring 40-year Congressman George Miller. DeSaulnier's successful campaign leaves an opening in the state Senate for the final two years of his term that will prompt a special election.
Expected termed out Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan of Alamo to throw her hat in the ring for that race. She likely would face Assembly colleague Susan Bonilla.

Pleasanton voters soundly approved of the current City Council's policies, returning Mayor Jerry Thorne to office for a second term by more than a two-thirds margin over Matt Morrison and re-electing Kathy Narum to council with more than one-third of the vote. She will be joined by former planning commissioner Arne Olson can who finished second by a five points over Olivia Sanwong.
Newcomer George Bowen, who built his campaign on an anti-growth theme as did Morrison, grew 20 percent of the vote, finishing about a point behind Sanwong. For Morrison, it was two overwhelming losses within a few months?he finished last in a six-way race for the Zone 7 water district Board of Directors in June.


Voters gave an interesting split decision in the race for two seats on the school board. Incumbent Joan Laursen drew almost 29 percent of the vote, while her colleague Jeff Bowser, who earlier in the year lost a primary bid for county superintendent, ran fourth in the four-person race. Bowser and Laursen signs were frequently together on lawns around town and they held a combined election night party at the Tri-Valley Democratic headquarters, but voters readily separated them.
That opened the way for parent and IT manager Mark Miller to take the second spot with 25.2 percent. Citizens divided their votes with Laursen receiving 28.8 percent, while fourth place Bowser grabbed 22.8, just behind Paige Wright at 22.9.
One new member is unlikely to change the direction of the board, but a fresh perspective often can be helpful.

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on Nov 6, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Tim,
Do you actually read the PW? Numerous articles about the Vranesh lawsuit, a severely dysfunctional administration (including one written by Gina), payouts to teachers, legal issues... Emotions and interest ran high as do post-election expectations due to the less than stellar management of PUSD administrators. The replacement of Bowser will have a far-reaching impact on go-forward decisions of the board. Your statement that a new member is "unlikely to change the direction of the board" is ridiculous and demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the situation. I'll ask the question again, do you actually read the PW?


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm

What does your comment have to do with election results? I vote for removing the above post by "Joe".

"Joe",what does your post have to do with the article by Tim?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Dark Corners of Town, a resident of Country Fair,
on Nov 10, 2014 at 8:41 am

One less union backed trustee can likely change the direction of a five member school board.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon,
on Nov 10, 2014 at 10:22 am

Tim, I think you explained it quite well. Additionally, I believe the cities in Contra Costa worked harder for Baker. It will be interesting to see how Danville and San Ramon voted. Lamorinda was likely 54-46.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Joe, a resident of Ruby Hill,
on Nov 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Cholo. Read my comment -it's called disagreeing with his statement and conclusion and making the observation that if he was actually paying attention to what has happened with the board and administration over the last year his opinion is naïve to say the least. I'm assuming, given your in-depth knowledge of these series of events, attending PUSD board meetings on a regular basis, and actually personally knowing the various people involved in these issues, that you are completely knowledgeable about all aspects of these issues and from this great base of knowledge you can also make informed comments.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Nov 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Like a few other posters on the blogs, you seem to be driven by issues related to "size"? yup...a drive to dominate others, especially males, with whom you disagree or feel in competition.

Are you always driven to relate to others in a vertical way?

tee hee hee...BUSTED!










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